Thursday, August 27, 2015
R-8 Board approves $1,078 payment to mortgage company for "student need"
If students needed coats, shoes, or supplies of any kind they had it within 24 hours. As time passed, the scope of Bright Futures expanded to include such things as food packets to take home over the weekend.
Nearly $10,000 was spent on gifts during the holiday season.
And now, it appears that the organization may be expanding into questionable territory.
During Tuesday night's Joplin R-8 Board of Education meeting, the board approved a $1,078.92 bill from Caliber Home Loans, an expenditure that was described as "student need," on the bill list. Another "student need" listed was $825 to T & J. Smith Properties.
In July, the board approved a $500 payment to Empire District Electric Company, $300 to Hull Plumbing, and $714 to Brown Property, again, all for "student need," which is almost always the code words for Bright Futures.
The question is not whether the district can afford to do these things. Bright Futures is reportedly completely funded through donations, but having the school district, through Bright Futures, is paying for someone's rent and utilities, is setting a dangerous precedent. With so many people who have trouble making ends meet, do we have a panel deciding who receives this kind of help? It certainly isn't the Board of Education.
Are the decisions being made by the blue ribbon Bright Futures Advisory Board? Or are the decisions left completely up to those who are running Joplin Bright Futures, people with little or no experience in dealing with issues that are normally left to social service agencies"
A few other interesting bills that were approved by the board Tuesday night:
-Another $222.14 for Director of Curriculum, Learning, and Assessment Sarah Stevens to cover expenses from her presentation at the Visible Learning Conference in San Antonio, Texas. Stevens helped fired consultants Paul Bloomberg and Barb Pitchford of Core Collaborative put on a workshop on how successful their program was here. The workshop was held at the annual Visible Learning Conference in San Antonio, Texas, and Stevens was joined by Executive Director of Elementary Education Jennifer Doshier, Executive Director of Secondary Education Jason Cravens, and Executive Director of Special Services Mark Barlass. WIth the latest expenditure, taxpayers paid more than $3,000 for the trip, including $575 in expense reimbursements in July and $2,396 in February.
-$74.69 to Schlotzsky's Deli for salad baskets with chicken and cinnamon rolls, listed as "supplies."
-$232 to the Rib Crib for a meal for the July Board of Education meeting
-$370 to the Joplin Rotary Club for Bright Futures Director Melissa Winston's membership dues
--$300 for "security services" for the July Board of Education meeting
-$41,666 to Shopko for the lease for the mall high school
-$11,187.50 to Northpark Mall for the rent for the mall portion of the high school
A signing for my book Silver Lining in a Funnel Cloud: Greed, Corruption, and the Joplin Tornado will be held this Saturday, August 29, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Always Buying Books in Joplin. Hope to see you there.